Monday , May 20 2024

ENGLAND’S EURO 2024 SQUAD LADDER: Kobbie Mainoo and Anthony Gordon make their case with impressive debuts and could be on a plane to Germany, but Gareth Southgate has a decision to make on Luke Shaw and Jordan Henderson

The years of hurt counter has ticked into its 58th year, but this summer England will head to Germany as favourites to win a first major tournament since 1966.

Gareth Southgate is blessed with arguably the strongest team the Three Lions have fielded in a number of years and there is palpable excitement to see the likes of Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden combine together.

That is to say nothing of exciting youngsters Kobbie Mainoo and Anthony Gordon, whose respective debuts this week hinted at a very bright future for the national team.

On the flip side, insipid performances against Brazil and Belgium were a timely reminder of the dangers of getting carried away with hype.

Unlike Euro 2020, which permitted a 26-man squad in case of Covid withdrawals, this summer’s tournament will see Southgate pick just 23 players.

So who is looking likely to make the cut for the summer? Here’s out latest England squad ladder. 

England head to the Euros in Germany as the favourites to win a first major trophy since 1966

England head to the Euros in Germany as the favourites to win a first major trophy since 1966

Gareth Southgate has another three months to finalise his squad before the tournament

Gareth Southgate has another three months to finalise his squad before the tournament 

MAIL SPORT’S PREVIOUS TOP 40 

1. Harry Kane

2. Jude Bellingham

3. Kyle Walker

4. Declan Rice

5. Jordan Pickford

6. Phil Foden

7. Bukayo Saka

8.Harry Maguire

9. Ben Chilwell

10. Trent Alexander-Arnold

11. Jack Grealish

12. John Stones

13. Kieran Trippier

14. James Maddison

15. Conor Gallagher

16. Sam Johnstone

17. Aaron Ramsdale

18. Joe Gomez

19. Marcus Rashford

20. Ivan Toney

21. Marc Guehi

22. Reece James

23. Jordan Henderson

24. Luke Shaw

25. Cole Palmer

26. Jarrod Bowen

27. Ollie Watkins

28. Kalvin Phillips

29. Fikayo Tomori

30. Kobbie Mainoo

31. Anthony Gordon

32. Jarrad Branthwaite

33. Ezri Konsa

34. Lewis Dunk

35. Raheem Sterling

36. Rico Lewis

37. Nick Pope

38. Levi Colwill

39. Eddie Nketiah

40.Mason Mount

 

1. Harry Kane (NON-MOVER) 

Kane was not risked against Brazil and Belgium after he injured himself colliding with a goalpost during Bayern Munich’s win over Darmstadt.

Southgate will need his captain and talismanic striker back to full fitness this summer if England are to win the Euros.

A stunning return of 37 goals in 35 matches during his debut campaign with Bayern just confirms Kane remains in sharp form and England will hope that rolls over into the Euros.

Will be the first name on Southgate’s teamsheet and remains the top rung on our ladder.

Harry Kane tops our ladder and the England captain is fundamental to their Euro hopes

Harry Kane tops our ladder and the England captain is fundamental to their Euro hopes

2. Jude Bellingham (NON-MOVER)

England will need Kane’s goals in Germany, but they are already undisputedly Bellingham’s team.

The Real Madrid midfielder has made himself integral to Southgate’s plans and further underlined his importance with a last-minute equaliser against Belgium on Tuesday night.

It is easy to forget Bellingham is still only 20 years of age, but he is already indispensable for England and a guaranteed starter this summer. 

There are so many strings to his bow but it’s expected Bellingham will be given licence to maraud forward and make things happen during the tournament.

Southgate still has to figure out the precise balance and composition of his midfield but Bellingham’s natural class makes him the creative fulcrum.

England fans will be hoping to see Jude Bellingham celebrate a few times this summer

England fans will be hoping to see Jude Bellingham celebrate a few times this summer

3. Declan Rice (UP ONE) 

Southgate admitted earlier this month midfield was the area of the field that was hardest to balance, but Rice is a surefire pick. 

The 25-year-old is in the middle of a terrific debut season with Arsenal following his £105m from West Ham in the summer and could head to Germany as a Premier League champion three months from now. 

The only question is who lines up alongside him in the midfield as, with Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson both down the pecking order.

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice is fundamental to everything Southgate's England do

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice is fundamental to everything Southgate’s England do

4. Kyle Walker (DOWN ONE)

Walker moves down a spot purely because he was withdrawn in the opening stages against Brazil on Saturday.

While not as serious as initially feared, his injury was a timely reminder that England can ill-afford to be without their first-choice right-back.

England don’t necessarily have the fastest centre-backs, so Walker’s recovery pace is often vital in containing counter-attacks.

With 82 caps under his belt, the 33-year-old offers a wealth of big game and tournament experience that Southgate will harness.

Southgate has long valued Kyle Walker's big game and big tournament experience

Southgate has long valued Kyle Walker’s big game and big tournament experience 

5. Phil Foden (UP ONE)

Foden is a curious case for England, as it has taken him time to establish himself in the side but his performances for Manchester City make him impossible to ignore.

The 23-year-old has scored 18 goals and provided 10 assists for the Premier League champions this season, but is yet to hit the same heights for England. 

Foden’s issue in the past has been a lack of clarity over where his best position, but his versatility could be key for Southgate. 

This season, he has exactly the same tally of goals and assists – seven and four respectively – in 20 starts as right winger than he does as attacking midfielder, despite having started just 11 times in the position.

Phil Foden's versatility could be a great asset for Southgate this summer in Germany

Phil Foden’s versatility could be a great asset for Southgate this summer in Germany 

6. Jordan Pickford (DOWN ONE)

Pickford did not cover himself in glory against Belgium, but remains Southgate’s first-choice goalkeeper by a considerable distance.

That has been the case since Southgate recognised his distribution skills ahead of the 2018 World Cup and, 58 caps on, that isn’t about the change assuming the 30-year-old remains fit. 

Even if were Everton to be relegated this season, Pickford will be England’s No1 in Germany.

Pickford remains England's first choice goalkeeper by a considerable distance

Pickford remains England’s first choice goalkeeper by a considerable distance 

7. Bukayo Saka (NON-MOVER) 

Saka missed England’s friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, but the Arsenal man has little to prove to Southgate.

If the England boss picked on form, Saka would be straight in because of the 16 goals and 13 assists for his club this season.

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If he was looking for some X-factor, he’d also be in because he’s one of the few unafraid to directly take on an opponent out wide.

And if he was picking on England reliability, then the 22-year-old, with his 11 goals and eight assists for the Three Lions, would be in as well. A shoo-in.

Bukayo Saka is almost guaranteed the starting right wing spot at the Euros this summer

Bukayo Saka is almost guaranteed the starting right wing spot at the Euros this summer

8. Harry Maguire (NON-MOVER)

The fact Maguire remains Southgate’s best option to partner John Stones perhaps says more about the other England defenders than it does about him.

The Manchester United defender was solid if unspectacular against Brazil and he will be in the starting XI in Germany, bar major surprises between now and the end of the season.

It would mark a remarkable turnaround for a player whose chances of making the Euros were in jeopardy at the start of the season when he was dropped by Erik ten Hag.

Harry Maguire could start at the Euros after rediscovering form for Manchester United

Harry Maguire could start at the Euros after rediscovering form for Manchester United 

9. John Stones (UP THREE)

Stones remains England’s best defender and was almost faultless against Brazil, until Vinicius got the wrong side of him, leading to Endrick’s winner.

The problem for the Manchester City defender, as ever, is his injury record.

Stones missed England’s camp in November and went off injured just 10 minutes into the game against Belgium on Tuesday night.

With 69 caps and a wealth of experience under his belt, Stones would no doubt line up alongside Maguire if Southgate had his way. But will he be fit this summer?

John Stones remains England's best defender but his injury issues are a major concern

John Stones remains England’s best defender but his injury issues are a major concern

10. Conor Gallagher (UP FIVE)

The Chelsea man has slowly come into the England fold under Southgate and is now ahead Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips in the pecking order.

Their demise has thrusted Gallagher into filling the vacancy alongside Rice, but the feeling is the balance Southgate craves may not come natural with that midfield combination.

At the same time, Gallagher has been a beacon of consistency for Chelsea in an otherwise dismal season and is a selfless runner willing to do plenty of leg work for England.

Conor Gallagher is firmly in the race to partner Declan Rice in midfield this summer

Conor Gallagher is firmly in the race to partner Declan Rice in midfield this summer 

11. Ben Chilwell (DOWN TWO)

With Luke Shaw facing a race against time to be fit in time for the Euros, Chilwell was handed his chance against Brazil and Belgium.

But the Chelsea left-back has done little to cement his place in the starting XI and was worryingly off the pace against Brazil.

In his defence, Chilwell missed a large chunk of the campaign due to a hamstring injury and needs a run of games for Chelsea before getting back to best.

If he does, the left-back slot could be his should Shaw fail to recover. 

Ben Chilwell started against Brazil and Belgium but failed to impress in both fixtures

Ben Chilwell started against Brazil and Belgium but failed to impress in both fixtures 

12. James Maddison (UP TWO)

Maddison impressed in a brief cameo off the bench as England chased an equaliser against Belgium and is one of a host of contenders for the Three Lions’ vacant midfield spot.

The 27-year-old has four goals and eight assists for Tottenham this season, a return which would have surely been bigger had he not missed 10 games because of an ankle injury. 

Maddison still only has six England caps but offers a point of difference from either the left side or a No 10 position and could be a great option off the bench in Germany.

James Maddison can offer England a point of difference in midfield and should make the squad

James Maddison can offer England a point of difference in midfield and should make the squad

13. Kobbie Mainoo (NEW ENTRY)  

England’s new boy wonder only received his first call-up last week following a breakthrough season at Manchester United.

And on the evidence of his display against Belgium on Tuesday night, Mainoo may well be in Southgate’s squad this summer. 

Making his senior debut, the 18-year-old passed the audition with flying colours and looks to be the ideal foil for Rice.

The United starlet is economical in his movement and in his touches, but marries that with a superb vison, sense of positioning and spatial awareness. An enormous talent and surely guaranteed to be an England star for years to come.

Kobbie Mainoo has catapulted himself in contention for a place in the squad for the Euros

Kobbie Mainoo has catapulted himself in contention for a place in the squad for the Euros

14. Kieran Trippier (DOWN ONE)

One of the host of injury problems Southgate has had to deal with this month, the Newcastle captain has  been an England regular over recent years and can play on the left or right of defence.

Trippier could prove very useful if England’s left-back options lack complete fitness come the start of the tournament.

At 33, this will be his fourth major tournament and obviously such a wealth of experience isn’t to be sniffed at.

Kieran Trippier looks nailed on to win a place at a fourth tournament with England if fully fit

Kieran Trippier looks nailed on to win a place at a fourth tournament with England if fully fit

15. Trent Alexander-Arnold (DOWN FIVE)

The Liverpool man missed the games against Brazil and Belgium because of a knee injury, the latest setback of an international career that has seen him won only 23 England caps so far. 

In qualifying, Alexander-Arnold looks very good slotted into England’s midfield and there is definitely a No 8 vacancy to be filled alongside Rice and Bellingham.

With his ability to pick a long pass, the Liverpool vice-captain could be well suited and obviously he can play at right-back, too. 

Southgate has only played him in midfield against lesser nations so far and it would have been intriguing to see him deployed in the middle of the park against Brazil and Belgium.

Alexander-Arnold is expected to be back next month and will be in the Euros squad if fit.

Trent Alexander-Arnold looked good in midfield during the qualifiers but Southgate may not want to replicate the approach at the Euros

Trent Alexander-Arnold looked good in midfield during the qualifiers but Southgate may not want to replicate the approach at the Euros

16. Jack Grealish (DOWN FIVE)

Another player to miss out on the friendlies against Brazil and Belgium through injury, Grealish will surely be in Germany his fit.

Just how prominent a role he will have, however, remains to be seen.

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The Manchester City midfielder has often been a bit-part player for England, usually coming off the bench to run at tiring legs or when an impact is needed. 

Jack Grealish has never been an automatic England starter but usually makes an impact

Jack Grealish has never been an automatic England starter but usually makes an impact

17. Joe Gomez (UP ONE)

Gomez returned to the England set-up for the first time in four years and impressed when called upon in place of the injured Stones against Belgium.

The Liverpool defender may only have won 13 caps, but his versatility is a great asset for Southgate as Gomez can slot in right across the back line or in defensive midfield.

It may not mean he’ll start but Gomez offers decent enough cover in four positions should the need arise.

Joe Gomez returned to the England camp for the first time in almost four years last week

Joe Gomez returned to the England camp for the first time in almost four years last week

18. Ivan Toney (UP TWO)

The Brentford striker made the most of his rare start at Wembley by scoring England’s first goal against Belgium.

While Kane remains Southgate’s undisputed first-choice up-front, Toney has edged ahead of Ollie Watkins in the race to be the Bayern Munich star’s backup.

The 28-year-old has scored four times in 10 Premier League games since his return from an eight-month betting ban and if he continues in that vein of form until May he has every chance of a call-up.

Ivan Toney scored England's first goal against Belgium in their 2-2 draw at Wembley

Ivan Toney scored England’s first goal against Belgium in their 2-2 draw at Wembley

19. Marcus Rashford (NON-MOVER)  

The international break barely moved the needle for Rashford’s chances of making the England squad. 

The Manchester United forward was largely ineffective when he came off the bench against Brazil and was an unused substitute against Belgium.

Rashford has endured a very difficult season on and off the pitch but went into the international break on the back of scoring in three consecutive games.

Southgate will be hoping he can continue in a similar vein and add to his 17 goals in 60 England caps this summer.

Marcus Rashford has come back into form at a good time but isn't assured of an England start

Marcus Rashford has come back into form at a good time but isn’t assured of an England start

20. Aaron Ramsdale (UP ONE)

We might as well take the opportunity to nail down the goalkeeper slots because England will likely pick three out of the 23.

The Arsenal goalkeeper, who has four caps to his name, will surely be Pickford’s understudy in Germany with the third spot up for grabs following Sam Johnstone’s injury.

Aaron Ramsdale celebrates during England's 3-1 win over Scotland back in September

Aaron Ramsdale celebrates during England’s 3-1 win over Scotland back in September 

21.  Anthony Gordon (UP TEN)

Another big winner of this international break, Gordon boosted his chances to make the squad with an excellent performance against Brazil on his international debut.

The 23-year-old has 10 goals and seven assists for Newcastle in 40 appearances in all competitions and is in contention for the left-wing spot in the starting XI.

Anthony Gordon impressed in his senior debut against Brazil and could make the squad

Anthony Gordon impressed in his senior debut against Brazil and could make the squad

22. Jarrod Bowen (UP FOUR)

One of the big winner of this international break, Bowen emphatically seized his opportunity with a superb display against Belgium.

The West Ham forward was dangerous throughout and can count himself unlucky on having his first international goal ruled out for offisde.

Bowen has 18 goals across all competitions for the Hammers this season and on Tuesday night’s evidence he will be in the squad this summer. 

23. Marc Guehi (DOWN TWO)

The Crystal Palace defender did well when he started the final two qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia but then suffered a serious injury setback.

While Crystal Palace hope he’ll return before the end of the season, it remains to be seen whether Southgate judges him to be have played enough to merit a place in the 23.

It’s clear Guehi could offer an alternative to either Maguire or Stones, however, with the manager already trusting him in the heart of defence.

Defender Marc Guehi faces a fitness race after suffering a knee injury a few weeks back

Defender Marc Guehi faces a fitness race after suffering a knee injury a few weeks back

24. Luke Shaw (NON-MOVER)

Shaw faces a race against time to be fit for the Euros, as he battles to get over his thigh injury and then get enough minutes for Manchester United to warrant making the squad.

The 28-year-old has long been Southgate’s first choice left-back but Chilwell, Trippier and Gomez available as backups, the England manager may not want to take a gamble unless Shaw can prove his fitness.

On paper, if everyone was fully fit, the United would definitely be in the starting XI.

Luke Shaw will need to prove he's fit and performing to win a place in the squad after injury

Luke Shaw will need to prove he’s fit and performing to win a place in the squad after injury

25. Jordan Henderson (DOWN TWO)

You have to wonder whether Henderson – for so long a Southgate stalwart – is at the right levels now to merit a Euros place.

The 33-year-old has plummeted down the pecking order following an ill-fated move to Saudi Arabia and a hitherto similarly underwhelming spell with Ajax.

Meanwhile, Mainoo’s emergence adds another runner to an already crowded field vying for the midfield spot alongside Rice.

And yet, even though England’s midfield should be moving beyond Henderson, it would not be a surprise to see Southgate include him in his 23-man list.

Jordan Henderson remains in Southgate's thoughts and plans despite no longer playing at an elite level of club football

Jordan Henderson remains in Southgate’s thoughts and plans despite no longer playing at an elite level of club football

26. Ezri Konsa (UP SEVEN)

The Aston Villa defender may have timed his England run to perfection. Konsa was handed a first call-up by Southgate in November, before making his senior debut against Brazil and his first England start against Belgium.

With injury doubts over John Stones and Lewis Dunk looking worryingly off the pace at international level, the 26-year-old could be playing himself into contention for a Euros spot.

Ezri Konsa could still play himself in the Euros squad following impressive displays against Brazil and Belgium

Ezri Konsa could still play himself in the Euros squad following impressive displays against Brazil and Belgium 

27. Ollie Watkins (NON-MOVER)

Watkins didn’t exactly enhance his chances of making the Euros squad with a disappointing display against Brazil, in which he skied a glorious chance.

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Toney’s performance against Belgium means the Brentford striker has probably edged ahead of him in the race to be Kane’s back up, but the matter is far from settled.

Watkins has smashed in 22 goals and contributed 10 assists for Villa this season, but he doesn’t look the same player on the international stage.

Ollie Watkins has struggled to replicate his club form at international level

Ollie Watkins has struggled to replicate his club form at international level 

28. Cole Palmer (DOWN THREE)

Of all the youngsters pushing hard to sneak into the squad, Palmer must be the highest-ranked based on his outstanding season with Chelsea.

With 14 goals and 12 assists for his new club since moving from Manchester City, there is rightly a clamour for him to go to Germany.

As such, even allowing for Southgate’s bevy of attacking options, it was perplexing to see him remain on the bench against both Brazil and Belgium.

On the flip side, he could prove a very good impact player if England are struggling to break down a massed defence and knows how to take a good penalty.

Cole Palmer was an unused substitute against Brazil and Belgium, which puts his chances of making the Euros squad in doubt

Cole Palmer was an unused substitute against Brazil and Belgium, which puts his chances of making the Euros squad in doubt 

29.  Nick Pope (NEW ENTRY)

Johnstone’s injury means England’s third goalkeeping spot in the squad remains up for grabs.

Pope is currently out injured but should be back over the next few weeks and, if fit, should edge ahead of Dean Henderson, who is set for a run in goal at Crystal Palace.

30. Reece James (DOWN NINE)

James is in a similar boat to Guehi, with Chelsea hopeful the right-back will return in time to get a few games under his belt prior to the squad selection.

Although James hasn’t played for England since the opening Euro qualifier – and then only for five minutes – and missed the World Cup with a knee injury, his talent is obvious.

Southgate told him to ‘build physical resistance’ to regain his England place in what was construed as a warning. At the same time, with injury concerns over Trippier and Alexander-Arnold, he may be in with a shout to make the squad if fit. 

Reece James must prove his fitness again before he can be considered for the Euro squad

Reece James must prove his fitness again before he can be considered for the Euro squad

31. Kalvin Phillips (DOWN THREE) 

Circumstance finally caught up with Phillips as he was not selected for this latest squad after 18 months of inactivity at Man City and poor form for West Ham.

It showed Southgate can be ruthless with his most trusted players when he needs to be and hinted at a changing of the guard in England’s midfield, a process which could be sped up further by Mainoo’s arrival on the scene.

David Moyes suggested Phillips can rediscover his best form between now and the end of the season, but there is little to suggest the 28-year-old will be in Germany this summer.  

Southgate has finally dropped Kalvin Phillips and the midfield probably won't make the Euros

Southgate has finally dropped Kalvin Phillips and the midfield probably won’t make the Euros

32. Jarrad Branthwaite (NON-MOVER)

Unlike fellow newcomers Gordon and Mainoo, Branthwaite will have to wait a while longer to make his England debut.

The 21-year-old has been in prime form for Everton and will almost certainly play for England in the future, but would be a surprise addition to the squad.

33. Dean Henderson (NEW ENTRY)

Johnstone’s injury has opened the door for Henderson to have an extended run of games for Crystal Palace and could even put him in contention for an England recall, should Pope not be fit enough this summer. 

Dean Henderson could be in the frame to head to Germany as England's third-choice keeper

Dean Henderson could be in the frame to head to Germany as England’s third-choice keeper

34. Rico Lewis (UP TWO)

The Manchester City man made his England debut at left-back in the draw with North Macedonia that rounded off Euro 2024 qualifying.

But he has been warming the bench lately for City and didn’t make the latest squad, before being called in as injury cover. Still only 19, he has time on his side.

35. Lewis Dunk (DOWN ONE)

The Brighton captain won his fourth and fifth cap against Brazil and Belgium, but he may have dealt his Euros chances a terminal in the process.

Dunk endured a nightmare night against Belgium and has struggled to step up to international level.

The return of various centre-backs to fitness and the influx of younger ones means his chances of making the squad are fading fast. 

Lewis Dunk (left) has struggled to settle at international level so far

Lewis Dunk (left) has struggled to settle at international level so far 

36. Fikayo Tomori (DOWN SEVEN)

At times it has appeared Tomori might push his way into the England reckoning but the AC Milan defender still only has five caps to his name and was left out this time.

He has recently gone through a spell on the sidelines through injury, which probably made Southgate’s mind up for him.

Firmly behind Konsa in the pecking order now. 

37. Raheem Sterling (DOWN TWO)

Sterling hasn’t featured since England lost to France in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final and while Southgate insists his international career isn’t over, the opposite appears true.

Still only 29, Sterling has eight goals and 10 assists for Chelsea this season but has completely fallen out of favour.

Raheem Sterling has completely fallen out of favour with Southgate since the 2022 World Cup

Raheem Sterling has completely fallen out of favour with Southgate since the 2022 World Cup

38. Levi Colwill (NON-MOVER)

Handed his debut in the October friendly against Australia then missed the next set of games through injury, as is the case at the moment.

39. Eddie Nketiah (NON-MOVER)

The Arsenal frontman also played against the Aussies as Southgate investigated other centre forward options. But that remains it, so far, for Nketiah.

More starts for the Gunners are crucial to his chances of becoming a more regular feature in the future.

40. Mason Mount (NON-MOVER)

It’s been a year since Mount received an England call-up – and even then he had to withdraw through injury.

His £55m move from Chelsea to Manchester United – and the injury issues that have followed – have hardly helped Mount’s cause.

He’s back to full-fitness now, but it would be a major surprise to see him in Germany.

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